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Early Birds: Doug Pederson prefers individual workouts with top quarterbacks

The Eagles have not been discreet about their desire to draft a quarterback next month. Owner Jeffrey Lurie and coach Doug Pederson said the Eagles' No. 3 quarterback will come in the draft, and Pederson has spoken repeatedly about having a young quarterback to develop.

The team's scouting of quarterbacks brought them to California on Tuesday for a private workout with Jared Goff, according to reports, including one from Bay Area radio host and former Eagles scout John Middlekauff.

This likely won't be the last quarterback that Pederson and Howie Roseman watch in person. Pederson said last Wednesday that he intends to go on the road to personally scout the top quarterbacks in the draft.

"I think it's important to evaluate all of them, especially those top three, four, five, six guys and really spend some time," Pederson said. "Because you never know when somebody's a free agent and you got to exhaust all the positions. It's something that I look forward to doing here in the next couple of weeks."

Pederson did not go to Carson Wentz's Pro Day last Thursday at North Dakota State. There's a reason for his absence – and it also has to do with the Eagles having the private workout with Goff. Pederson finds the private workouts much more effective for his evaluation of a quarterback. If you remember, Pederson was the one who put Nick Foles through a private workout in 2012 before the Eagles drafted him.

"I won't go to the Pro Days as much," Pederson said. "I prefer the individual workouts where you can go a little more hands-on, one-on-one with a guy."

The Eagles have not ruled out taking a quarterback at No. 8 if the right one falls. They would need to be convinced, though, that the quarterback can become a top starter. Pederson said he didn't know if it would be an option at No. 8, and he thinks there are good possibilities for the Eagles even after Wentz, Goff, and Memphis' Paxton Lynch.

"I know if you're looking for that third quarterback, there's some good ones in this draft, taking out, say, the top three," Pederson said. "There's still some guys you can develop and would be good fits at the No. 3."

That next group seems less defined. A case could be made for Penn State's Christian Hackenberg and Michigan State's Connor Cook. Mississippi State's Dak Prescott and Stanford's Kevin Hogan excite some observers. Ohio State's Cardale Jones is inexperienced, but has tools that can be developed.

"I have the opportunity after these meetings are over once I get back to Philadelphia to really start diving in again now that the combine is over and going back and really evaluating that position again, maybe taking a couple trips and working guys out," Pederson said. "Just gathering a lot of information on everybody. But there are a few guys that I still like that could be good No. 3s."

The Eagles' "collaborative" approach to decision-making leave some ambiguity about who makes the final decision. But it's been made clear that Pederson's opinion carries significant weight at quarterback, which he played, coached, and has the most experience scouting.

"I really evaluated a lot of the quarterback position over the years, and some of the guys that I've liked, had good reports, had good things to say, have all had pretty good NFL careers so far," Pederson said. "They may not be with us currently, but they've had good careers. I evaluated Alex Smith when I was with Philadelphia before, when he became a free agent his first time. I always felt like he was a guy that if he ever got the chance, if we had the chance in Kansas City and we went out to get him. So I feel good about that."